Mead Through the Seasons: Spring

Welcome in spring with these assorted sweet mead recipes. Whether you’re an experienced brewer or budding beginner, these recipes are a sure hit.

| March 2019

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Getty Images/pogrebkov

Once you make one batch of mead you’ll be hooked. As you develop your base recipe, chances are the urge will strike to venture into other types of mead. There are a few different ways to do this. Like grape wine, mead ranges from dry to sweet. For a one-gallon batch like the starter recipe in this book, one and a half to two pounds of honey makes a light colored, dry mead; three pounds results in a semi-sweet mead; and three and a half to four pounds will produce a sweet mead. Pay attention to the strain of yeast you use. If you want a very dry mead, use Lalvin EC-1118 yeast. For semisweet and sweet meads, Lalvin 47 is your best choice. This yeast is user-friendly and imparts great flavor that complements the honey.

The type of honey used influences the flavor of mead. Traditional mead is best made using alfalfa, clover, acacia, or wild­flower honey. Acacia honey will sweeten even the driest of meads and is a great option if you’re going crazy-dry. Just remember that crazy-dry means even more finicky yeast.

Most mead takes a long time to make, which means that as you make batches throughout the year, you can play with the flavors through honey, yeast, and additions. Save your flavored meads for the right season and pair them to impress your friends. Mead is best after aging. Make batches throughout the year using fresh items that will pack the peak of flavor into each delicious gallon.



When it comes to types of mead, there are styles that are not fla­vored in the secondary, but from the start. I’ve broken down a few of the most popular here with seasonal suggestions.

Morat Recipe

Morat means melomel (mead that also contains fruit) made from mulberries. This is a delicate flavor perfect for spring. White and red mulberries are ready for picking in late spring. You can find them at the farmers’ market or forage for them, depending on where you live. As children growing up, we picked them straight from the trees on the side of the road.

Level: Novice

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Primary and secondary fermentation vessels
  • Plug with hole
  • Airlock
  • Plug with no hole
  • Stirring spoon
  • Ingredients: 2 lbs honey (local, but cheap)
  • 1 gallon water, divided
  • 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet Lalvin D-47 yeast
  • 3 lbs mulberries (cleaned, sorted, frozen; thawed overnight and crushed the night before racking to secondary)

Process

  1. Combine honey, a half gallon of water, and yeast nutrient. Heat to 160°F and maintain for thirty minutes. Skim and remove any foam that collects.
  2. Remove from heat and cool to 80°F. Funnel into your one-gallon glass carboy and pitch the yeast according to directions. Pop on your airlock.
  3. Fermentation should start within a few days. When it has slowed, siphon into your secondary. Add thawed, crushed mulberries.
  4. Put the airlock back in and monitor. When fermentation stops, rack again and store for two to four months.

Pairing Suggestions

Entrée: Fried flounder with apricot sauce

Charcuterie Board: Brie, mild goat cheese, quince paste, dried fruits, turkey, chicken, macadamia nuts

Dessert: Dark chocolate mousse

Rhodomel Recipe

Rhodomel is mead from rosehips; it gets its name from the ancient Romans who enjoyed it. Rosehips, con­taining roses' seeds, are a popular ingredient in tea, fresh and tart with a taste similar to hibiscus. They are harvested from rose bushes in the fall but should be drunk in the summer. Mead needs time to age, so making a batch when they are harvested and waiting over a year is your best bet.

Level: Novice

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Primary and secondary fermentation vessels
  • Plug with hole
  • Airlock
  • Plug with no hole
  • Stirring spoon

Ingredients

  • 15 lbs alfalfa honey
  • 1 gallon water, divided
  • 1.5 pint dried rose petals
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid
  • 1/2 tsp tannin
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet champagne yeast

Directions

  1. Boil honey and one quart of water for ten minutes, skimming off foam.
  2. Place petals, citric acid, and tannin in a one-gallon glass carboy. Use the funnel to add the honey water.
  3. Add water to make one gallon. When the must is between 75°F and 80°F, add nutrient, sprinkle the yeast on top of the must, and put the airlock on the top of the carboy. Allow to sit for seven to ten days.
  4. After seven to ten days, siphon the must into another carboy and ferment until clear.
  5. Bottle and age for at least six months.

Pairing Suggestions

Entrée: Honey roasted chicken with carrots

Charcuterie Board: Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brie, blue cheese, mascarpone, grilled chicken, honey turkey



Spring means maple syrup and maple syrup means acerglyn. This mead requires plenty of time to age, but it’s worth it. Choose Grade A: Dark Color & Robust Flavor (which is what used to be called Grade B).

Acerglyn Recipe

Level: Intermediate

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Primary and secondary fermentation vessels
  • Plug with hole
  • Airlock
  • Plug with no hole
  • Stirring spoon
  • Ingredients
  • 2 to 2-1/2 lbs light honey (I used clover)
  • 2 quarts maple syrup
  • Acid to taste (no more than 1 tsp; refer to page 124 for more info on measuring ABV)
  • Pasteur champagne yeast

Directions

  1. Bring honey and maple syrup to boil in enough water to liquefy.
  2. Add acid.
  3. Skim for a minute or two.
  4. Cool to at least 70°F.
  5. Add water to make your must. Should have a starting gravity of 1.120.
  6. Pitch with working Pasteur champagne yeast. Should have moderate-vigorous fermentation.
  7. Rack off after primary fermentation, and once again if it isn’t clear in a few more weeks.
  8. If the yeast isn’t settling after the first fermentation, top off carboy with boiled water.

Pairing Suggestions

Entrée: Grilled skirt steak with charred zucchini and pineapple salad

Charcuterie Board: Aged Gouda, aged cheddar, cranberries, dates, hard salami, andouille sausage

Dessert: Brie and apple tart with caramel drizzle

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More from The Joy of Brewing Cider, Mead, and Herbal Wine


Reprinted with permission from The Joy of Brewing Cider, Mead, and Herbal Wine: How to Craft Seasonal Fast-Brew Favorites at Home by Nancy Koziol and published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2018
Amanda
5/2/2019 7:13:27 AM

I'm confused in the rhodomel recipe, why she's talking about rosehips and then the recipe itself uses rose petals?







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